Best digital/technology initiative in HR/L&D

Rare Contextual Recruitment System


Over the past decade, the pressure on businesses to embrace social mobility has grown – and even more so in law firms, where many exceptional students from disadvantaged backgrounds struggle to stand out. 

So Rare developed its Contextual Recruitment System (CRS) to allow recruiters to, for the first time, identify the most disadvantaged candidates and those that outperformed their peers by the greatest amounts. These candidates might not have a variety of work experience or extracurricular activities to their name, but they are likely to be some of the most resilient people entering the workforce – the very people law firms want to recruit.

In October 2015, Rare launched its first prototype of the CRS based on feedback from a working group comprised of top universities and employers. And after further changes based on more research, CRS 3.0 launched in January 2016, allowing Rare to take a more granular approach to mapping individual disadvantage. 

The CRS integrates with employers’ graduate recruitment systems and delivers two outputs: flags to measure disadvantage like living in care or qualifying for free school meals, and Performance Index (PI) to measure performance against students at the same school. 

The system puts academic achievements in context by showing the extent to which the candidate had outperformed their peers so an employer can see what they would be missing out by initially dismissing their application. 

Now, the CRS is used by 87 per cent of the UK’s top law firms, and Rare’s longitudinal study across six top firms showed the CRS boosted the number of disadvantaged people hired by 61 per cent in three years. 

And in 2018, the CRS was recommended by the All-Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility, the Social Mobility Commission and The Law Society as software employers should seek to use in their own graduate recruitment schemes. 

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